Monte Cucco, Rome March 11-15 2007. VIVAT International was created on November 18th, 2000 when its rust newly formed Board of Directors convened, and issued its first official communique. In it was written its principal vision to develop advocacy work in the United Nations believing that its humanitarian vision is consistent with the Justice and Peace endeavors that has already been in operation over last 130 years of the existence of the Society of the Divine Word and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit.
The sustainable socio-economic development of people framed within the ideals of Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation can be seen as an essential dimension of VIVAT activities. In the last two years, at least, five other religious congregations have joined VIVAT as associate members, and all committed to the cause of justice, peace and integrity of creation. These are the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ), the Comboni Missionary Sisters (CMJ), the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and The Congregation of the Holy Spirit, popularly called Spiritan (CSSp). All are seriously deliberating becoming full members in time.
The first joint VIVAT International workshop participated by a delegation of both full and associate members happened in Monte Cucco, Rome on March 11th – 15th, 2007. There were 37 participants representing the 7 congregations and working in 12 countries in Europe. The workshop included first the vision, history, development, structure and activities of VIVAT international as an NGO. The other second main content of the workshop was on the Structure and activities of the United Nations.
In the light of these two main parts, there were group activities that were intermingled over the entire workshop. These group activities reflected and reported on the present activities and set up of the participating congregation, and how VIVAT as a means of working together can help to foster our involvement in the JPIC apostolate and advocacy work. The meeting appointed a contact person for each country present and hopes to keep a network that can lead to a more united NGO body. The whole workshop was organized by Michael Heinz, SVD, Maryjohn, SSpS, John Kilcrann, CSSp, Marina Cessarino, CSP, Alejandro Canales, MCCJ, Maureen O’Mally, MSHR, and Oswaldo Firth, OMI.
The support from the major leaders of all the congregations that compose VIVAT International was outstanding through their presence at various parts of the workshop.